I have a new running partner. Her name is Grace. Her family just got back from home ministries. Dawn (who goes walking with me so I can run) just went back to the States to get her daughter ready for college. So it was perfect timing. Grace has never been into running before but while on home ministries, someone suggested that she run. She seemed to like the idea and her parents asked if I could teach her what I know about running.
I was quite surprised because to be honest, I don’t know much about running. I actually really do not like running. I hate it. It hurts and it’s no fun. I’d much rather play a sport and get exercise while having fun because for me, running is far from fun. I only run here because girls rarely get a chance to play sports. So me sharing my running wisdom with Grace? Ok done in like 5 seconds.
The first day, we ran a little warm up. Then I told her what little I knew about breathing and form and technique. Then we just ran to see how far/fast she could go. I’m pretty sure she could have run farther and faster than me if she wanted. She ran faster than my usual pace and I had to push myself to keep up. I was more sore the next day than any day I’ve run by myself since I’ve been in Albania. Mainly because I was trying to keep up with her.
We’ve only been twice but something’s happening. I’m learning more about running and am being pushed harder during my runs. When I ran before, by myself, it was easy for me to just jog or if I got tired to quit since I was the only one running. No big deal.
But now I have Grace and I know she wants to learn about running. Even though I don’t know much, I want to help her. So I come up with different running workouts and things to focus on. I have had to refresh my memory on different workouts I’ve done throughout my athletic career. I’m having to learn with Grace.
She’s a great running partner though I feel she is helping me more than I am helping her. I don’t just give her advice, she pushes me to learn more, run faster and run harder. I feel like I’ve gotten more of a workout in the two days I’ve run with Grace than I have all the other days I’ve run by myself.
It’s the same way with Christ. We need a running partner. This may be in the form of mentors, Bible studies, discipleship, or even just fellowship with believers. But we need to have someone who will push us as we push them (even if we don’t feel equipped or ready to help them). Someone who will teach me as I teach them. Someone who will challenge me to run harder after Christ as I challenge them to do the same.
A lot of times, I have plenty of excuses why I can’t help someone grow in their faith. I feel like I’m not mature enough in my faith or I don’t know all the answers or I’m just not ready to disciple someone or mentor someone or lead a Bible study or small group. In reality, I will probably never be ready (in my mind). But Grace has reminded me that it doesn’t matter. We can learn together. We just need that running partner to hold us accountable.
When we have a running partner, we expect to teach, grow and challenge others but that’s not what’s going to happen. It’s true we can teach, grow and challenge people but they will also teach, grow and challenge us. And before you know it, you and your running partner will be running marathons.